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Choosing the "strange" game try

I played in a strong matchpoint game this Saturday when my opponent, a pro, had the following hand:


One might of course decide that this hand is worth a shot at game and blast 4 but considering that you are playing matchpoints and that partner did not have a strong enough raise to use Drury an invitational bid could be appropriate. The player was playing natural game tries and decided to bid 3 rather than 3.

Partner now hesitated (no screens were in use) for 30 seconds and then bid 3 which South then raised to game. We called the director to protect our rights and everybody agreed to the hesitation. Partner tabled:


and on a diamond lead from QJ-tight with the Q onside and trumps 3-2 declarer took eleven tricks for a good board. We did not feel like South had an obvious 4-bid and called the director. When asked why he bid this way he answered that he always meant to bid game and that his 3-bid was only intended to fend off a heart lead (what I think Zia calls a "Sting"-bid).

The director polled five players and out of them, three bid 4 while the other two bid 3 to invite to game. This should be enough to prove that not forcing to game is a logical alternative but the director went one step further. He also asked the three players that blasted game what bid they would choose if they instead invited to game. They all bid 3. From this, he concluded that South's argument was true - he had "psyched" 3 - and that the hesitation did not affect his bidding. Hence, the table result stood.

While this looks like good director work (I was impressed when he told us about the second question) there is also another implication. If I now have a borderline hand I can choose a "strange" game try. If partner signs off immediately I can pass while if he thinks and then signs off I can raise to game assured that game will have chances and that the director can not adjust the score as I now can say it was only a psyche. Maybe I am overreacting and while I'm confident that the actual player told the truth, it still bothers me quite a lot. I would therefore like to get some input on the matter.

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